Sunday, March 3, 2024
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Brunei Town

Beyond four walls

Nurturing young minds outside the confines of textbooks and traditional classrooms

As the school bell rings for the final time, signifying the end of another academic year, students across the nation eagerly embrace the much-anticipated school holidays. For many, this marks a period of relaxation, freedom and a chance to explore interests beyond the confines of the classroom.

The annual opportunity offers students a way to delve into the domains of learning, exploring and acquiring fresh knowledge in novel environments.

Seizing the opportune moment, Tanjong Maya Secondary School made their way to carve memories as they ventured to the Tropical Biodiversity Centre (TBC) in the Belait District.

There, they expanded their knowledge of biodiversity beyond textbooks and lessons, fostering a connection with the natural wonder that is the diverse ecosystem and biodiversity found in the Sultanate’s rainforest.

With the freedom afforded during the school holidays, the students could delve into the mysteries of biodiversity and gain insights beyond the theoretical knowledge learnt in classrooms.

Venturing beyond mere observation, the excursion imparted a deep comprehension of the significance and role of biodiversity within the ecosystem. The students witnessed first-hand the balance among various flora and fauna species, each playing a part in sustaining environmental harmony.

“Our visit aims to help students learn more about the flora and fauna in a classroom without walls or borders,” said a teacher at the school Hajah Siti Saleha binti Haji Mohd.

Through engaging workshops and interactive sessions, young minds are enlightened about the interconnectedness of living beings and the ecosystem’s dependence on biodiversity for survival.

Muhd Waqiuddin bin Mulik and Muhd Syaraffuddin Bazil Amsyar bin Sajali during their visit to the Tropical Biodiversity Centre. PHOTO: DANIEL LIM

With the eye-opening nature of such visits, students such as Muhd Waqiuddin bin Mulik and Muhd Syaraffuddin Bazil Amsyar bin Sajali expressed excitement in learning outside the classroom with friends.

 “I found the visit fun, especially the jungle trekking. I didn’t expect to have so much fun while learning about the local environment and biodiversity from the friendly guides and staff,” said Muhd Waqiuddin.

Similarly, Muhd Syaraffuddin Bazil Amsyar added that he learnt a lot about the flora and fauna found in the centre’s surrounding area during the jungle trek that he would otherwise not have known about if not for the visit.

“Learning about the species, how they look like and how they contribute to the surrounding environment is a new experience for me,” he said.

Both students said they wanted to show off the knowledge gained through the photos and experiences taken during the visit to their friends and families.

While some students delved into the world of biodiversity at places like TBC, others are treated to an alternative educational banquet. An example comes from the Seria Energy Lab, embarking on a journey to the rural landscapes of Belait.

Photos show students having fun while learning at the science exhibits. PHOTOS: DANIEL LIM

The mission was to serve up science shows and exhibits to young minds with limited access to such captivating learning experiences.

Dubbed ‘Siuknya Sains’ (The Sweetness of Science), the initiative unfolded as a collaboration with Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) and Cluster 6 under the Ministry of Education.

The goal was to enrich students’ knowledge in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education through interactive and engaging activities.

In the heart of the programme, students in rural areas found themselves enchanted by their inaugural encounter with the ‘Science Wizardry’ show.

The spectacle unfolded with dazzling displays of chemical reactions and scientific experiments, providing a gateway to a world of possibilities and wonders of science.

Adding to the display was a robotics showcase, where students were not mere spectators but active participants. They operated and engage with robots, orchestrating them to perform simple tasks – a definite hit among the younger audience.

Students watch a science show. PHOTO: DANIEL LIM

Through demonstrations and interactive sessions, the students didn’t just witness scientific principles in action, they felt them, igniting a spark of curiosity.

In the grander scheme of school holidays, where some students explore biodiversity, and others embrace the marvels of science, a narrative of holistic education unfolds.

Whether surrounded by the lush greenery of a biodiversity centre or the scientific showcase that can make one’s imagination run wild, young minds are continuously being nurtured, inspired and empowered. – Daniel Lim